U-Turn from Fife Council over Music Tuition
7 October 2013
Fife council has backed down from a radical proposal to scrap instrumental music tuition for all pupils except those sitting Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) music exams. The proposal met with furious reaction from teachers, musicians and local schools who said that such a move would rob the young people of Fife of the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.
Leader of Fife council Alex Rowley announced this weekend that the council has decided not to go ahead with the proposal, which was part of a wide range of cuts being considered by the local authority. 'My view is that if we were to take this option, we would in effect be wiping music education out,' he told reporters from Scotland on Sunday. 'This proposal will remain exactly that. It will not figure in our budget going forward. It will not happen.'
Abolishing SQA tuition charges was one of 17 suggestions made in a report to the Scottish Government over the summer by the instrumental music group, as reported by Music Teacher last August. Learning a musical instrument is something that was once free to all children across Scotland. Following the success of its 'Let the Children Play' campaign over the summer, Scotland on Sunday is currently putting pressure on local councils to scrap instrumental tuition fees in all Scottish schools. Over the coming months, Scottish local authorities will be ordered to review their charging policies to ensure that no child who wants to learn an instrument will miss out.
Plea from a Headmaster
1 October 2013
Paul Jackson is the headmaster of Gallions Primary School, which is based in one of the 5% most deprived areas of the UK. The school is currently expanding to over 700 children over the next couple of years, and Paul has a vision: all Gallions pupils from the age of six will learn to play a stringed instrument.
The Gallions music programme is already underway, with great success. Staff believe that this programme has vastly improved the children's self-esteem, confidence, behaviour, and attitudes to learning. However, the school has now run out of space to continue the programme, and needs to invest in a music block building.
Many pledges have been received, and the school is now trying to raise the last £50,000 needed for this project. If you would like to make a donation to the cause, click here if you are an individual or here if you are part of an organisation. For more information, feel free to email PJackson@gallions.newham.sch.uk.
Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2014
30 September 2013
Following the success of last year's inaugural awards, the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2014 are now open for nominations.
Held in conjunction with Music Education Expo 2014, the awards evening will be held on 7 February 2014 in the Barbican's newly refurbished Garden Room & Conservatory.
Two new awards have been added to this year's list: Best SEN Resource, and Excellence in Primary/Early Years Music. Other areas open for nominations are:
- Best Musical Initiative
- Best Print Resource, sponsored by Rhinegold Publishing
- Best Digital/Technological Resource
- Best School Music Department
- Hub Innovation Award, sponsored by the Musicians' Union
- Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Black Cat Music and MusicPracticeRooms.com
- Music Teacher Magazine Editor’s Award
- Most Innovative Retailer
- Best Classical Music Education Initiative, sponsored by Classic FM
If you know a person, organisation, or indeed product, worthy of winning one of these prestigious awards, please get involved in supporting music education's best and most deserving recipients! Nominations close on 7 November 2013. Finalists will be announced on 18 November via the Expo's social network sites, and in December's issue of Music Teacher magazine.
To download a nomination form, please visit the Music Education Expo website. Completed forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCEM Young Composers Award 2014
25 September 2013
The National Centre for Early Music and BBC Radio 3 are partnering with The Tallis Scholars to present the 2014 NCEM Young Composers Award.
This major national award will be launched on BBC Radio 3's early music show on Sunday 17 November 2013. Composers under the age of 25 will be invited to write a piece for The Tallis Scholars, who are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary. A shortlist of entries will make it through to a workshop day in May 2014, with the winning compositions to be performed by The Tallis Scholars in Oxford next autumn, live on BBC Radio 3.
Director of the NECM Delma Tomlin said that the competition is 'a unique opportunity for young composers to broaden their audiences significantly.' Les Pratt, the lead producer for Radio 3's early music show, said they are delighted to be able to support young musicians reaching for the next stage of their career: 'The technical standards and breadth of originality from the young composers is always staggering, and we're looking forward to working through this exciting process.'
Interested applicants must register by 21 February 2014, with completed scores submitted by 21 March. Following the workshop day in May 2014, which culminates in a public concert, two winners will be announced - one from each age category.
For details on how to take part in the competition, visit the NCEM website or email email@example.com.
Ofsted Surveys Now on iPad
25 September 2013
The Opinion Box, a specialist research data collection company, has integrated Ofsted's survey requirements into a user-friendly system which can be used on specially adapted iPads. These bespoke, interactive surveys are immediately analysed in realtime, freeing up hours of time for teachers.
This new system is particularly ideal at parent gatherings. Parents are free to enter their opinions anonymously, without the face-to-face pressure of answering members of staff directly - which can often be embarrassing and hold parents back from expressing their honest opinions. The Opinion Box uses its own software to ensure that survey questions are straightforward and simple, with several optional viewing and output formats.
One of the first schools to take up the iPad survey system is Alexandra College of Enterprise, a 1400-pupil comprehensive in the West Midlands. Assistant deputy headteacher, Julie Cornfield, was impressed with the results from a parents evening in June 2013: 'We were able to act on the survey's outcome the very next day,' she said. 'The system has freed us from an enormous amount of paperwork and data inputting and given us instant, in-depth analysis results that are reliable - with the bonus that more parents are now taking part. Now, over 85% of parents at an event will respond. Before, we were lucky to get 25% response.'
For more information on The Opinion Box visit their website, or call 07986 615183.
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